“Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’ Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’” John 11:41-43 NKJV)
It’s interesting that before Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, He prayed. We read about Him praying often, but we don’t often get the text of His prayers. I can guess that were we to have an assignment to write a prayer to be used to bring someone back from the dead, most of us, after we finished wiping away the sweat, would fill a page or two with melodious words. Jesus’s prayer was quite simple. To paraphrase, He said, “Father, I know You hear Me, now let everyone else know You hear Me and that You sent Me.” Then He commanded Lazarus to come out of the tomb. If you caught my spoiler yesterday, you know that Lazarus came out. Death wasn’t the rest of his story, eternal life with God was. He had been dead, but the sickness wasn’t to end in death, it was to end in people glorifying God.
The reaction to the return of Lazarus is a microcosm of human reaction to amazing news. Some wept with joy. Others were amazed and rejoiced. Then we read about those people who ratted Jesus out to the Pharisees, who, upon hearing the amazing news of a man coming back from the dead, intensified their plotting to kill Him. God gives us amazing news every day. Do we rejoice and share that news? Do we celebrate, especially when it means that someone has come alive in Christ? Or do we seek ways to dampen the news, to make light of it, or even to cause trouble for others when they get good news? Speak life in Christ. Celebrate God’s goodness every day and share His love with others.
Lord, You bring people back from spiritual death every day. Help me to celebrate that joy with those who’ve been welcomed into Your family. Remind me at the same time, that the story of Lazarus teaches us that death isn’t the rest of the story, eterna life with You is.